This month’s Member Spotlight

Annelie Verstraaten

July 2016

Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role?
I got involved in LEAD Network at the beginning, and currently have the role of Chair of the Executive Committee next to a role in the Marketing Committee.

For the last five years I have worked as an independent business consultant. Previous to this I worked for a number of different Consumer Goods companies mostly in commercial roles in Marketing or Sales.

I live in the Netherlands together with my husband and two daughters.

Why is diversity important for you?
I have often been one of the few women or the only woman in the room. Though I did get some very good advice at times from male mentors, there were quite a few moments I would have loved a female leaders’ perspective or a female role model.

From my own experiences (and sometimes frustrations) during my working career and those of other female colleagues I developed a passion for the advancement of female leadership and connected issues.

I firmly believe and have experienced that diversity in teams , not just on gender but on a wide range of aspects, leads to inspiration, new insights, a balanced perspective and better results.

Your perspective on LEAD and what advice would you have for us?
II remember starting our first meeting with approximately 30 people in the room, and now , just a few months before our fourth conference, we have crossed the 1000 member milestone. I’m very proud of the achievements of LEAD Network and our volunteers and even more so with regard to the ambitions we set ourselves.

Currently I see better developments and more young women coming up through the ranks with conditions to progress to better positions being more favourable to them then say 15 to 20 years ago. But we still have a lot of steps to take to enlarge awareness, communicate best practices and facilitate and drive progress towards a gender balanced leadership. We can all contribute. Just taking the time to talk about LEAD Network and our mission and goals to the business leaders you meet in your network and engage them to visit our website, join an event or become a member is where the change starts.